Alumna gives pagent advice

PHS alumna, Robyn Olson competed for the crown in the Miss Seattle Pageant Jan. 11.

Although she did not win this year, Olson stays positive and has plenty of helpful advice for those who are interested in pageants.

“I would say [to] find as many people to help you as possible. I met with about five or six former Miss Washington’s who gave me a snapshot of their year and told me how they were successful with pageantry,” Olson said. “But I think with every situation you go through in life, it is important to find others who have been through what you are going through, so you can learn from them and be that much wiser. Knowledge is power.”

Olson says part of her reasoning for becoming a part of pageants involved role models in her life.

“I have had a couple friends who did pageants; that I always looked up to because I felt like they were polished, articulate and driven women. I have always noticed something different about pageant women and knew that I wanted what they had,” Olson said.

Olson has accomplished a lot through pageants, her work with forming a non-profit organization called “Tackling Substance Abuse, Changing Lives” shows just that.

“As pageant participants, we each need to develop our own personal platform, which is an issue that we are passionate about that we would like to work on in the community if we were to win,” Olson said. “My platform was drug and alcohol abuse, because I have had close friends and family members who have struggled with substance addiction and I have seen how much it is negatively impacted their lives. Watching them go through that made me realize I want to help prevent others from going through what they went through.”

The organization enables Olson to go into high schools and speak to kids about drug and alcohol education.

“I make sure it is a fun, interactive presentation, so students will actually listen and participate and not just think it’s another boring lecture,” Olson said.

Part of what motivates Olson to create effective presentations is the reward for doing well.

“A huge incentive about competing in pageants is winning scholarship money. Miss America is the largest provider of scholarship money for women in the entire world and even though I am already a college graduate, the money that I earned through competing in Miss Seattle will go toward my student loans,” Olson said.

The previous pageants effects on her life overall have played a large part in why she decided to do the Miss Seattle pageant.

“This was actually the second time I have competed at Miss Seattle and what I noticed about myself after my first pageant was that I better understood politics and felt more informed about what was going on in the world. I became healthier and got in better shape because of the swimsuit portion, my confidence grew and I made a lot of great friends through the program. Overall, I just feel that it is a great organization to be a part of,” Olson said.

Olson explains that in preparation for the event it took a lot of time and effort in order to be successful.

“I practiced piano for about an hour a day for almost five months before the pageant to make sure I could play the piece perfectly on the day of the pageant. My interview practice consisted of watching the news and developing my stance on different current events and political issues so I could talk intelligently about them to a panel of judges,” Olson said. “To help me practice, I set up several mock interviews with local politicians, lawyers and news junkies.”

Although the night went by in a flash for Olson, she says there were a couple memories that really stuck out for her.

“During the closing dance number, I accidentally wore two different shoes- one was about a half an inch higher than the other! So I remember trying to dance as gracefully as I could without tripping- It was quite the challenge,” Olson said. “I also remember that when I walked out in my black velvet evening gown that I designed, the entire audience gasped. It made me feel like a Hollywood celebrity and that was definitely my favorite moment of the night.”